There are a lot of similarities when comparing the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Rams, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
These are the two highest scoring offenses in the league that will meet Sunday afternoon on the west coast with so much on the line.
And when it comes to a showdown of two similar teams, it’s the little things and situational football that matters most.
The first is red zone efficiency, and again, it’s an area of the game where both teams are similar.
Per teamranking.com, the Eagles are averaging 2.3 touchdowns scored per game inside the 20 on 3.4 attempts per game, with the Rams right there at 2.2 touchdowns per game on 4.3 attempts per game. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has been a huge part of Philly’s red zone success with seven touchdowns inside the red zone this season. He remains a question mark for Sunday, as he’s been in the concussion protocol all week.
With both teams rather efficient on the part of the field that matters most, both teams defenses will need to find a way to hold the opposition to three points. Again, both teams are very close, with Philly allowing 1.2 red zone touchdowns per game, and LA allowing 1.6 per game.
The Eagles could have a slight advantage here, having not allowed a single rushing touchdown in the red zone so far this season. Rams’ running back Todd Gurley however, has eight touchdowns in the red zone, so something will probably have to give come Sunday.
In last week’s loss in Seattle, the Eagles were very uncharacteristic in many areas, including red zone efficiency both offensively and defensively. Philadelphia finished 0-for-2 on offense, while the Seahawks went 3-for-3 – and they were a team that’s struggled in that area this season. So obviously the Eagles need to get back to winning in this category to have a chance to win Sunday.
Third down efficiency will be a big factor as well.
The Eagles weren’t terrible on third down in their loss at Seattle, finishing 8-for-16. Defensively wasn’t bad either, allowing the Seahawks to finish 6-for-12. The Eagles defense however, gave up four first downs by penalty.
The Rams have been pretty good converting on third down this season, seventh in the NFL with a 42.59 conversion percentage, again per teamranking.com. The Eagles are second at 45.93-percent. Defensively however, the Eagles defense has done a better job getting off the field, third in the league with a 30.26 opponent third down conversion percentage. The Rams are 13th in the league at 38.46-percent.
Overall, a big reason leading to the Eagles success this season has come in winning situational football. It got away from them last week at Century Link Field. It can’t happen again this week at the LA Coliseum or Philadelphia will likely head back with a goose egg from this two-game west coast trip, while taking a big blow to its hopes of a first-round bye and home field advantage.
Matt Catrillo is a Philadelphia Eagles Writer for ProFootballSpot. You can follow him on Twitter @MCatrillo. For more coverage on the Eagles and the NFL from Matt, tune in to the Next Game New Game Podcast.